Thursday, September 17, 2015

The Never Ending Commitment of Will Ferrell

Who is your favorite actor? Tough question I know. And with a never ending range of options it's a pretty difficult thing to answer. But back in my youth, there was a simple and easy response: Will Ferrell. 

It's not easy to sell Will Ferrell as the best actor around, and today I'd give a different answer, but back in my younger days he was my top choice. The reason was pretty simple, everything he did made me laugh. I can't tell you how many hours my brother and I spent locked in our TV room watching "Anchorman" or "Old School" or his SNL best of DVD. When it came to Will Ferrell we just couldn't get enough. As I've gotten older my taste has matured somewhat and I've somewhat moved on from the brand of comedy that filled my youth. It's part of growing up and everyone leaves parts of their childhood behind. However, with Farrell there's an element of nostalgia, that keeps me invested in his career.  

Most recently Farrell stared in a 50 minute HBO Baseball mockumentary entitled, "Farrell Takes The Field." The special had Farrell playing 10 different positions for 10 different Major League Baseball teams, a record first achieved by Bert Campaneris in 1965. As a big fan of baseball and Will Farrell, I was immediately intrigued by the idea. Last March, Farrell filmed the special in Arizona playing briefly in 5 different games. Because he filmed it during spring training I was actually able to follow each game online with exclusive footage provided by MLB. The glimpse I got was hilarious and I had high expectations going into Saturday's premiere. 

While it was a pleasant 50 minutes of content, I was overall disappointed with it. They shortened some of my favorite moments from the day and it felt like they cut some great content in order to carry on jokes, that didn't quite hit. While I wasn't completely satisfied with the special as a whole, I still admired Farrell's performance overall. 

One of the things that has made Farrell great throughout his career is his unwavering commitment to a role. Even when the premise of his piece is ridiculous he is completely committed to taking it seriously. In the HBO special, Farrell goes through the games as though he is trying to secure a spot on each team and although it is obvious to everyone involved that it is a joke, Farrell never drops from character. His interactions with the players and the coaches read like a utility infielder trying to fit into a new situation after every trade. And regardless of how the mockumentary came out, all the proceeds raised during the special went to a cancer foundation that Farrell started and that's something everyone can get behind.

While Farrell's movies haven't exactly hit it big the last few years, he has always done a great job of staying relevant through all the different medias that are available to us. Whether he's appearing in random Milwaukee Beer commercials, or creating and posting Funny or Die videos,  he has found a way to stay current. And in each ridiculous video, his complete devotion to the comedy can be seen. Regardless of of your thoughts on Will Ferrell, it's hard not to appreciate his dedication to his craft. His unwavering commitment to each role is something every actor can learn from.

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